COVID-19 Community Level Increased to High on 7/14: Face Coverings and Additional Controls Required On Site
July 14, 2022
On Thursday, July 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-designated Community Level of COVID-19 in Suffolk County was changed from "Medium" to "High." This was done in response to the weekly case rate moving above 200 cases per 100,000 people, and weekly new hospital admissions of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people exceeding 10.0. These are two of the triggers the CDC has set for raising the Community Level, along with hospital inpatient bed usage.
We recognize the recent changes between Medium and High can be frustrating for employees. Your continued support of these controls is greatly appreciated.
As a result of this change – and in line with Brookhaven's workplace safety and re-entry plan (VPN may be required) – the Lab is re-instituting controls in the following areas, effective immediately:
- Face coverings are required on the Brookhaven Lab site and within Lab buildings, regardless of a person's vaccination status.
- Face coverings must be worn in all government vehicles when occupied by more than one person.
- Face coverings may be removed by individuals only when in office spaces with floor-to-ceiling walls and fully closed doors. They may also be removed by individuals outdoors, as long as social distancing (greater than six feet) is maintained.
- Everyone must also maintain six feet of distance from co-workers. When the nature of the physical work requires individuals to be within six feet of each other in order to conduct the work safely, appropriate work planning and face coverings are required.
- The Deputy Director for Operations must approve any Lab-hosted in-person workshops or conferences with more than 50 attendees. All attendees – visitors as well as Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA) employees – for any in-person, Brookhaven Lab-hosted workshop or conference must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the three days prior to site entry. In addition to lab or pharmacy testing, home tests will be considered acceptable for proof of a negative test (evidence can include a photograph of the negative test result). Workshop/conference hosts will be responsible for checking the testing status of attendees. The Occupational Medicine Clinic (OMC) will also continue to offer voluntary testing for Lab employees on site.
- Large internal (i.e., BSA employees) meetings of more than 50 persons are discontinued.
In addition, the following controls will remain in place:
- Unvaccinated employees must continue to participate in mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing at OMC. The OMC will contact these individuals with details on testing times.
- Please stay home if you have a fever or are experiencing any COVID 19-related symptoms, and take common-sense precautions to keep yourselves and your colleagues safe as COVID numbers rise.
If you are coming to the Lab site, please remember to bring a face covering. If you forget, your Environment, Safety & Health representative will have a limited supply on hand.
When entering the Lab site, please remember to lower your car window at the guard booth so the officer can see your face. The officer may ask you to lower your face covering for a moment if you are already wearing one.
Employees are encouraged to stay up to date on available COVID-19 boosters. In accordance with CDC and U.S. Department of Energy guidance, employees who are not up to date (fully vaccinated plus at least one booster shot) are subject to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case.
Learn more about the Lab's Protocols for COVID-19 Exposures and Cases.
Our primary concern continues to be the health and safety of everyone on site. We will keep employees informed about any additional changes to COVID-19 controls.
If you have any questions, please contact me at Ext. 7474.
- Jack Anderson
Deputy Director for Operations